Giving Compass' Take:

• This report from Grantmakers Concerned With Immigrants and Refugees profiles 10 donor programs with a range of successful approaches that support refugees and asylum-seekers. 

• How can other donor organizations adopt these strategies in order to transform current responses to the refugee crisis? 

• Read more about the United States separation policy and how you can help families in need.

The number of refugees being admitted to the United States has been cut to historic lows, children are being separated from parents at the border as de facto policy, the country’s national network of refugee resettlement agencies is facing an existential crisis.

With the number of displaced people around the world at an all-time high, the United States is rolling back longstanding protections for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers at an alarming rate.

Against this urgent backdrop, this report profiles 10 donors’ diverse approaches to and strategies for supporting refugees and asylum seekers. Many funders are encouraging their grantees to innovate and adapt existing practices to move beyond “business as usual,” supporting systems change work and giving greater voice to refugees and asylum seekers, and mobilizing within the philanthropic community itself to engage in collective grantmaking to share expertise, leverage resources, and maximize impact.

These profiles are designed to provide a roadmap for supporting refugees, asylum seekers, and unaccompanied children seeking protection in the United States and abroad. The grantmakers profiled in this report differ in their structure, size, and geographic priorities. Some are responding to global crises while others are addressing the needs of refugees and asylum seekers in the United States (including unaccompanied children and families from Central America).

Still, others are advancing national strategies, ongoing work in specific states, or very local interventions. As a group, they support a range of approaches – from systems and narrative change to advocacy and organizing, from capacity building to legal and direct service delivery. These include:

  • Encourage adaptation and innovation in volatile times.
  • Think systemically and creatively.
  • Explore the benefits of collective grantmaking.
  • Take a holistic approach to addressing the needs of newcomer populations
  • Enhance existing support to grantees by re-evaluating grant requirements.
  • Leverage foundations bully pulpit, stature, and convening power.